KEEPERS: Tom Heaton (BUR) [5.0], Tomas Fabianski (SWA) [4.5]
DEFENDERS: Kieran Trippier (TOT) [5.5], Charlie Daniels (BOU) [5.0], Christian Fuchs (LEI) [5.0], Ragnar Klavan (LIV) [4.5], Bruno (BRI) [4.5]
MIDFIELDERS: Kevin De Bruyne (MCI) [10.0], Dele Alli (TOT) [9.5], Andre Ayew (WHU) [7.0], Wilfried Zaha (CRY) [7.0], Ryan Fraser (BOU) [5.5]
STRIKERS: Harry Kane (TOT) [12.5], Roberto Firmino (LIV) [8.5], Sam Vokes (BUR) [6.0]
Money left: 0.0
Easy #1 Keeper Choice, but a Tougher Pick at #2
Tom Heaton cost 4.5 last season and was the top scorer in fantasy for keepers. I’m amazed his price jumped by only 0.5 this time around. That leaves Heaton as a no-brainer, considering that there’s no player who scored within 15 points of him last season who costs as little as he does. I’d love to have a back-up at 4.0, but I’m not certain of anybody at that price who will start and who won’t be an absolute disaster, so it’s a choice instead at 4.5 and Fabianski wins slightly over the likes of Artur Boruc, Heurelho Gomes and Ben Foster.
I don’t mind paying 6.0 or above for a defender if I’m pretty sure I’m going to get one of the top defenders for the season. But given how things can vary year to year — just think back to Chelsea’s top-rated, high-priced defenders from 2014-15 turning to rot in 2015-16 — I’d rather wait and see rather than making a big splurge this early. That means that I’d prefer to pay 5.5 for Trippier than 6.0 or more for the other Spurs studs, anyone on Chelsea or James Milner.
Milner’s Change in Position
Speaking of Milner, when I first saw that he had been changed from a midfielder to a defender, I was pretty excited. Until I saw that his price had shot up to 6.5. If you add three points for every clean sheet he got (he scored one point per clean sheet as a midfielder compared to four that defenders earn), Milner would have notched 175 points last season. That would have put him in third place among defenders behind Chelsea’s Gary Cahill and Marcos Alonso, slightly ahead of Cesar Azpillicueta. Cahill and Azpi each cost 6.5 while Alonso costs 7.0, so you’re really not getting any sort of bargain for Milner; rather, he seems pretty fairly priced.
Here’s another way of looking at things: Gareth McAuley scored six goals last season which translated to 131 points and made him a steal at a price of 4.5. (Patting myself on the back, since I had him all season.) Milner had a fairly similar output of seven goals last season and costs a much heftier 6.5. We’ve established that Milner could certainly deliver around 175 points (and maybe even more, if you get really lucky). But would you be happy if Milner only managed 130-140 points, which would not really be too much of a shocker?
Loving or Loathing Lindelof?
It seems like everybody out there has gotten a huge man crush on newcomer Victor Lindelof, but given that no defender on Manchester United scored more than 120 points last season, I’d rather go cheaper on players like Daniels and Fuchs; after all, Fuchs scored 150 points in 2015-16 and Daniels notched 134 in 2016-17. I’ve got a pair at 4.5 each to fill out the back line, but I wouldn’t mind getting a starter for 4.0 to free up a little more coin. Unfortunately, it’s too early to tell if there’s a decent one out there at the bargain basement price.
The Ever-Crowded Midfield
Regarding midfielders, KDB is a tough call. In a similar price range I could go with Eden Hazard or Sadio Mane. Alternately, there’s the option of going cheaper and freeing up funds elsewhere (for instance, third striker) with someone like Heung-Min Son, Giorginio Wijnaldum, Leroy Sane, Paul Pogba or Manuel Lanzini. Ayew made as much of an impact per minute in 2017-18 as he did in 2016-17, so if he’s healthy all season he should be a great value. If I can find a decent starter at 4.5, I could free up some money by dropping Fraser. Ruben Loftus-Cheek looks to be the sexy pick, but it could be worth waiting to see that he’s a regular starter.
Are All of the Liverpool Midfielders Having Their Positions Changed?
It’s probably not a bad idea to have some investment in the explosive Reds offense. Unlike Milner, it’s a bit of a shame to see Firmino’s classification changed from midfield. However, as Firmino was the only offensive Liverpool player to play 3000+ minutes (Wijnaldum was the only one who was close) last season, I’d rather have Firmino as a striker than the more frequently banged-up Coutinho or Mane in midfield. Otherwise, right now I’m going with a cheap third striker in order to fit more talent in midfield, and Vokes is my pick. If he can produce on the same level as last season and play somewhere in the vicinity of 3000 minutes, he’ll be a steal. That said, I certainly wouldn’t mind being able to upgrade there.
Join our Beat the Blogger’s league for 2017/18
League Code : 44096-12922
What do you think of my initial team? Which players do you like and which do you rate less favorably? What do your teams look like, and how is the squad assembly process going for you?